Supreme Court notice to WhatsApp: ‘People value privacy more than money’
“People in India have grave apprehensions about loss of privacy. You may be a $2-3 trillion company, but people value their privacy more than that. And it is our duty to protect people’s privacy,” observed the bench, which also included justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian.
The Union government urged the top court to scrutinise the 2021 policy instead of waiting for a high court to decide. “Right to privacy is a fundamental right and they (WhatsApp and Facebook) must protect Indians’ rights. They cannot share data of Indians. They cannot compromise with the privacy right of Indians,” Mehta submitted. Appearing for petitioner Karmanya Singh Sareen, senior lawyer Shyam Divan questioned WhatsApp over lowering the privacy standards. He pointed out that since WhatsApp had deferred its new policy till May 15, the SC should decide its validity before that.
However, senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Arvind Datar, Mukul Rohatgi and Sidharth Luthra, who appeared for WhatsApp and Facebook, sought to emphasise that the social media entities were functioning within the bounds of the Indian laws. “This  policy is applicable for the rest of the world, including India, except Europe because Europe has a specific law.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to these 27 countries in Europe and thus, there is a different policy. Once India also has a law in this regard, we will change accordingly,” Sibal and Datar said.
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